03 Oct

Daily Watch – Army to train in Niger Delta, DMB jitters over TSA activities,

  • The Nigerian Army has said that it will carry out training exercises in the restive southern Niger Delta, where attacks on oil installations last year cut the country’s crude production by around a third. A ceasefire by militants has halted attacks in the oil production heartland this year. President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday said the government was continuing to hold talks with communities in the region in a bid to secure a lasting peace. Exercises in tasks such as logistics, reconnaissance and medical care will be carried out within the states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers from October 7 to October 28, military spokesman, Aminu Iliyasu said. A military operation launched last month in the nearby southeast region to reduce violent crime and “secessionist agitations” has led to claims that the home of a separatist leader was besieged, which the army denies.
  • The FG is currently carrying out feasibility studies on the construction of 10 new standard gauge rail lines across the country. According to the Nigerian Railway Corporation, the standard gauge rail lines will cover a travelling distance of over 3,421 kilometres when completed. In its latest Rail Development Plan report, the NRC said that the various rail lines would pass through Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Edo, Abuja, Kogi, Anambra and Sokoto, among other states. The NRC outlined the 10 new standard gauge rail routes where feasibility studies were being carried out as including the 300km Lagos-Sagamu-Ijebu Ode-Ore-Benin City East-West rail line; the 615km Lagos-Ibadan-Osogbo-Baro-Abuja high-speed line; the 533km Ajaokuta (Eganyin)-Obajana-Jakura-Baro-Siraj-Abuja rail, with additional line from Ajaokuta to Otukpo; and the 520km Zaria-Kaura Namoda-Sokoto-Ileila-Birnin Koni in Niger Republic. In its report, the NRC said the construction and rehabilitation of the Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri standard gauge line project is nearing completion.
  • Some banks may likely face new sanctions and fines by the CBN over improper remittances of revenues they collected on behalf of the federal government to the Treasury Single Account, the Daily Trust reports. Billions of naira in government revenues were alleged to be trapped in the coffers of some banks. Financial intelligence had recently revealed that some of banks had failed to remit all Federal Government funds with them to the TSA domiciled with the regulator which prompted the FG’s decision to audit the banks’ remittances since the commencement of the TSA. Over ₦5 trillion in government revenues have been remitted by the banks to the TSA since the commencement of the policy. However, due to allegations of improper remittances by the banks, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation has ordered an audit of the entire TSA regime by PwC and EY. Beside the poor remittances by the banks, there is also concern over the exact balance in the account with the CBN and the OAGF, the two custodians of the account. In the wake of these revelations, the House of Representatives has asked the CBN and the OAGF to provide a detailed reconciliation and audit reports of the amounts generated so far in the TSA within 6 weeks, ending 10 November.
  • The world’s largest biomass producers, Bionas has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Kaduna State Government to build a $2.4 billion biomass biofuel factory, and a $137 million waste to wealth factory in Zaria. According to the group’s CEO, Zurina Amnan, Bionas will implement five blocks of 10,000 hectares in cultivating, jatropha plants in five different locations to produce the biomass and biofuel. Amnan said they also plan to invest in a waste-to-energy plant, where 1,000 pound of garbage daily will be processed to produce 258 Mw of electricity to serve 96,000 houses without experiencing any waste or pollution.
  • First Bank has acquired the remaining shares in FBNBank DRC, making it a First Bank wholly owned Subsidiary. First Bank said this follows its initial investment in FBNBank DRC (formerly Banque Internationale de Credit) in 2011, when the bank acquired a 75 percent stake in the Congolese bank. Following the acquisition, FBNBank DRC has continued to expand its product offerings, deepening its customer base, and is currently ranked amongst the top five banks serving the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country with a population of more than 82 million. Commenting on the acquisition, First Bank CEO, Adesola Adeduntan, was quoted in a statement as saying that “this transaction underscores our belief in Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth and our focus on providing a differentiated banking experience throughout Africa. This acquisition further consolidates our already robust African footprint and positions First Bank to take advantage of emerging opportunities in DRC and the sub-region. This increased investment by First Bank in FBNBank DRC – the 3rd largest banking entity in the Group, will surely accrete value for shareholders.”